inMobi Gains $8 Million, Challenges AdMob

inMobi announced earlier this morning that it had raised $8 million in funding for a total of roughly $15 million.The company began in India in 2007 as "mKhoj." It launched in the US formally last month.

Many people in the industry haven't heard of inMobi yet it's the largest ad network globally other than Google-AdMob. Now inMobil is seeking to take AdMob's place as the leading independent mobile ad network. 

The company says that it has "16.9 billion impressions monthly reaching 179 million consumers in 108 countries." Clients include Reebok, Microsoft, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Quaker Oats, Yamaha, Barclays, and Yahoo.

Source: inMobi internal traffic data

American employees of the company include former Yahoo VP Anne Frisbie, now head of inMobi North America and James Lamberti, formerly SVP of comScore, now VP of global marketing for the company. I spoke to both yesterday and they stressed to me that inMobi had a technology platform and scalability advantage over the majority of its competitors. They also said that it was best positioned among the independent networks -- inMobi is an ad network working directly with clients rather than a mediator or exchange -- in the Google vs. Apple advertising battle. 

Lamberti said that inMobi would be releasing some very interesting data soon, which caused us to talk about mobile data more broadly. Both Frisbee and Lamberti criticized the quality of the third party mobile data available and the comScore and Nielsen methodologies. They said that GroundTruth probably had the best data in the US market but that it was incomplete.

Frisbee said that once you get out of the US and Europe (to a degree) third party data are not available as a general matter. 

What's impressive is the way that inMobi has scaled globally in a relatively short time frame. Velti and Amobee, using somewhat different models, aspire to the same global scale and reach. 

With Google having bought AdMob that leaves Yahoo and Microsoft as potential buyers of ad networks. However, in addition, the major advertising holding companies, many of which have acquired small mobile agencies, are also potential acquirors of mobile ad networks and exchanges. Then there are the carriers . . . but they're unlikely to play directly in mobile advertising despite their past flirtations.